The 2020 UK Championship – Last 128 – Day 1

Yesterday saw the start of the 2020 UK Championship. For the first time since it’s played on a flat draw format, the first round is televised by Eurosport.

Two players where withdrawed after testing positive for Covid-19:

Hamilton And Day Test Positive For Covid-19

Anthony Hamilton and Ryan Day have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Betway UK Championship in Milton Keynes and have been withdrawn from the event.

Hamilton was due to play Xu Si on Monday morning and Day was due to face Jak Jones on Monday evening. Xu and Jones both receive a bye to the second round of the world ranking event.

All other players and officials tested at the event so far have had negative results.

Hamilton and Day will now undergo a period of self isolation and will receive the support of WST.

Since WST events restarted in June, strict Covid-19 regulations have been and continue to be followed, under UK Government guidance.

This is particularly worrying for Anthony Hamilton, who suffers from asthma and has been shielding. But as cautious as you might be, and surely Anthony was very cautious, you still need to go out at times, get some food or other essentials, and, if you go out, you inevitably come into contact with other people. It only takes a few reckless ones to infect a lot of persons. Think about it … even if wearing a mask is no fun, it DOES protect the vulnerable.

Phill Haig who interviewed Anthony after he withdrew from the CLShas been in contact with him and, unfortunately, Anthony isn’t feeling great. Hopefully he doesn’t develop severe symptoms as it could be life treathening given his condition.

Wishing both Anthony and Ryan the best.

Now onto the action… here is WST report:

Selby Edges Out White

Mark Selby booked his place in the second round of the Betway UK Championship with a hard fought 6-4 defeat of Welshman Michael White in Milton Keynes.

Selby, 37, is seeking his first Triple Crown silverware since winning the World Championship in 2017. The Jester from Leicester has won the UK Championship on two occasions. Selby beat Shaun Murphy to lift the title in 2012 and Ronnie O’Sullivan in an epic 2016 final.

White, a two time ranking event winner, suffered a shock relegation from the circuit at the end of last season and subsequently failed to regain his place at Q School. However, playing as an amateur, he provided a stern test for world number five Selby this afternoon.

The pair traded the first two frames, then a superb total clearance of 140 saw Selby take a 2-1 lead. White cleared the colours to win the fourth on the black and head into the mid-session level at 2-2.

When they returned, Selby encountered problems with his right eye after getting something caught in it. Despite that he still built a 5-3 advantage, before White claimed the ninth thanks to a break of 57 to keep his hopes alive. Selby wasn’t to be denied his victory and composed a run of 75 to seal a 6-4 win.

Selby said: “He’s a tough player. I’ve played him at the Crucible before and only came through that 10-9. It was only two and a half years ago he was in the top 16 and winning tournaments himself. He should probably still be in the top 32 on the tour. How he fell off I’ll never know.

“I think since 2017 this is probably the best chance I’ve had coming to a Triple Crown tournament, with the way I’ve been playing. In 2018 and 2019 I wasn’t playing well enough heading into the UK Championship and didn’t believe I could win it. Whereas this year I feel I’m playing a lot better and believing I can win. Whether I do or not is a different thing.”

Scotland’s John Higgins breezed through his first round tie with Fergal O’Brien, winning 6-1 to book his progression.

Higgins is a former three-time winner of the UK Championship, but hasn’t tasted silverware at the event since his epic 10-9 final win over Mark Williams in 2010.

Higgins was in fine break building form this evening, composing runs of 72, 52, 56, 123 and 70 on his way to the win.

“It was a difficult first round game,” said 30-time ranking event winner Higgins. “Any win is a good one against Fergal. He is always going to make it tough. He’ll be disappointed, as he never really turned up at all there.

“My long game was non-existent for the first few frames and I tried to change something. Then I started potting a few long ones. In about the balls I scored alright, so all good”

Germany’s world number 110 Simon Lichtenberg secured a huge 6-3 win over world number 23 Scott Donaldson.

Mark Williams stormed to a 6-0 whitewash win over tour rookie Ben Hancorn to book his place in the second round, while Barry Hawkins thrashed Riley Parsons 6-1.

The Mark Selby v Michael White match was actually a good one, a rarity on the TV table in the UK championship first round with the draw going strictly by seeding.

The Mark Williams interview is interesting in that what he says is so similar to what Ronnie has been saying. At this stage of their career, practice is hard to sustain for long hours and he doesn’t feel that he needs it. But enjoying his snooker is key to be able to continue playing, and playing well.

Simon Lichtenberg has found a way to win… not for the first time, his match was extremely slow going for the first 5-6 frames, then he produced three breaks over 50 in the last four frames to get the job done. It’s a good win for him over Scott Donaldson. For Scott of course it’s a dissapointing result especially after the form he showed last week.

Not mentioned in WST report but another young player, Pang Junxu, had an excellent result, beating Tom Ford by 6-4.

Yan Bingtao started well but had to battle hard in the end to beat young Sean Maddockx  by 6-4.

Jamie Clarke confirmed his good form with a 6-5 win over the “Minister of Defence”, Martin O’Donnell, as did David Grace with a 6-4 victory over Ian Burns. Ben Woollaston however suffered a 6-5 defeat at the hands of Andy Hicks. Ben has lead by 5-3.

There is a possiblility that crowds could return from December 2 on, just a possibility but Mark Selby would love that it seems

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2 thoughts on “The 2020 UK Championship – Last 128 – Day 1

  1. Yes Pang was excellent again. He gifted two frames to Ford, but immediately responded, showing great tenacity. Ford looked out of sorts though. Also, Chang Bingyu did very well to beat Sam Craigie, who still doesn’t seem to be able to make the most of his ability. It’s good to see Lichtenberg beginning to get some solid results – he may gradually establish himself as a stable professional.

    The UK Championship first round may not seem like a very interesting round (the BBC have completely ignored it for years, not even sending a reporter), but with £6500 available, it can save the career of a player ranked in the 60’s, with the possibility of £12000. This is real money for a player lower down the rankings. It’s £4000 for reaching the last-32 of a Home Nations and even a Q-final only pays £10000.

    Incidentally, of the 5 ‘missing’ professionals, I’ve seen Bai and Mei playing in Xi’an. And Marco Fu was interviewed:
    https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MzI0ODcyODEwMw==&mid=2247499168&idx=2&sn=cd7d22bf0ae5686719fc5fdedcb26ab8&chksm=e99ee2e8dee96bfe817e306b6dc184e651c41117c7f89fa723201ba8a2740cbc72a8f2236f66&scene=0&xtrack=1#rd
    Basically, he is not looking to play this season, has applied for a WST wildcard, and will retire if he doesn’t get one.

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